A man who formed two cancer organizations misled consumers into believing that most of their donated money was going to charity, says John Suthers, attorney general of Colorado.
Adam Cole Shryock used money from Boobies Rock! and Say No 2 Cancer for himself and gave only nominal sums to legitimate cancer causes, a complaint states.
“Shryock misled thousands of consumers in Colorado and across the country into believing they were supporting breast cancer-related charities,” said Suthers in a statement.
“In reality, very little of the money collected went to legitimate cancer groups as Shryock tapped those funds to buy himself a BMW, subscribe to an online dating service, and pay his bar and cleaning service tabs.”
A call to Say No 2 Cancer was not returned.
The website for Boobies Rock! has been taken down, although the online blog Westword was able to capture a screen grab of it. A twitter feed also exists but has not been updated since late November.
But a blog that seems to be connected to Boobies Rock! and was surfaced by Westword is still on the Web. The bright pink site describes Boobies Rock! as a “creative blend of music, sports, fashion and pop culture. Established in September of 2010, Boobies Rock! has quickly grown to become one of the leading advocates for the awareness of breast cancer across the U.S. Our mission is simple; to create awareness through fun, fashionable and humorous clothing and accessories.”
According to the attorney general's complaint, both Boobies Rock! and Say No 2 Cancer would hold events, mostly in bars across the country, and “hire promotional models to ‘take donations’ on behalf of Boobies Rock!, saying the company was raising money for breast cancer nonprofit groups. The models would sell T-shirts, beer koozies, bracelets and other items with pro-breast or anti-cancer images and/or slogans.”
The complaint alleges that bar owners and customers were told that a significant donation would be made to cancer organizations, but that none of the legitimate organizations received money from the groups until they threatened to sue.
Reviews on Yelp also may add doubt to the company's intentions. One reviewer from Joliet, Ill., called the company "sleazy and dishonest." Kelly H. from Tucson, Ariz., added, "I worked for this organization for two months as a promotional manager and was given information to give to all the girls that directs them to say "'all of the proceeds go to Breast Cancer Awareness.' That is a TOTAL LIE! This is a for profit company that gives very little to none of their money to breast cancer. I am doing everything I can to make sure that this scam is made known nation wide. Do not buy anything from this company!"
Colorado began investigating the organizations after the attorneys general of Illinois and Indiana did so. A Denver judge issued a temporary restraining order last week, which led to the websites being taken down, activities halted, and funds frozen. A hearing for a preliminary injunction is scheduled for Monday.